Episode 38: How to Get 5 Minutes of What You Need

As moms, we’re in charge of everything, and when life gets busy, we can just run out of gas. In today’s episode, we’re talking about ways to put a little gas in our own tanks. This episode is your permission slip to put yourself at the top of your to-do list. Join me as I unpack the “self-care five plan”—my personal game-changer for infusing self-care into the chaos of motherhood. You’ll hear how small, consistent acts of nourishment can keep you from hitting empty and ensure you’re not just surviving, but thriving amidst the busy-ness of life. Discover the profound difference a mere five minutes can make when you’re consciously refueling your spirit, mind, and body.

We explore practical tips and techniques to seamlessly integrate self-care into our daily routines. From the simplicity of mindfulness and breathwork to the profound impact of connecting with others, nature, or a higher power, these strategies are more than just a respite; they’re a lifeline for preventing burnout. 

What you will learn on this episode:

– The benefits of even five minutes of self-care on overall health and happiness 

– The introduction of the “self-care five plan” for busy moms 

– The importance of asking ourselves what we truly need during busy times 

– Practical self-care tips for incorporating mindfulness, hydration, nutrition, stretching, and connections into daily routines 

– Strategies to manage stress through breathwork and taking brief moments to nurture well-being 

– Leading by example to show children how to take care of themselves while managing responsibilities


*This transcription below was provided for you or your convenience; please excuse any mistakes that the automated service made in translation.

Hello friends, I am so happy to be with you guys again today. It’s been so busy, so much to do, and I’m sure you’re all feeling your own kind of time crunches. Work has been crazy traveling, shopping and decorating and trying to eke out all the feelings of the season. The women I’m working with are feeling it, and I’ve been thinking about all of you running around so busy too. Of course, at the time of this recording it’s the holidays, but whenever you might be listening to this. I bet you notice that you hit periods of time in your life when things just get busy. Maybe there’s a holiday that’s the cause, but probably more often than not busy times just show up all year round, maybe at the beginning and ending of school or summer, or a month with a big bunch of birthdays or busy seasons at work. Just being a mom can make every week feel like it’s the busiest we’ve ever been. So today I want to talk about how we take care of ourselves during the busy times and I hope to keep this episode short and sweet so it doesn’t add too much to the time load you might be facing Because of the season and my big to-do list. 

For the past week I’ve kind of prioritized getting things done over my usual self-care routines and I notice things feeling a little off for me personally, like I’ve been a little more tired because I’m staying up later than I usually do, trying to squeeze in things I didn’t have time for in the day. I got a little queasy stomach yesterday. That came and went quickly, thankfully, probably because I skipped breakfast and I didn’t eat until later in the day. I just grabbed stuff at that time and then I ate too fast, and then I felt more emotionally tender. Maybe it’s because of missing family that are far away, or worrying about those who are having a tough holiday season, or maybe it’s all of that mixed up without my usual sleep. And then, of course, I’ve skipped my meditation time and my stretching time just so I could get a few more things done. Does this ever happen to you? It’s like I’m running around going faster and faster and I just kind of feel justified skipping my self-care routines because I have to get things done. When you add a bunch of things onto our list, then something has to give. Well, today I want to talk about how we can get through these busy times with a little more gas in our tanks. I call it the self-care five plan. 

Have you ever been on your way somewhere? And it’s important for you to be there on time? So you get in the car and you head off on your way and you look at your fuel gauge and see that it’s on empty, not just starting to go into the E-zone, but really at E, and you probably only have a few miles left before coming to a complete standstill. Now I’ve run out of gas two times in my life and now I have this kind of weird anxiety about it, because both times it left me kind of stranded and if you’ve ever run out of gas you know how strange that feeling is. You’re just driving along and then all of a sudden you put your foot on the gas and the car doesn’t accelerate, in fact it just coasts. It kind of loses speed and it’s just a little bit of a mess. The car’s speed goes slower and slower until it stops. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle lane of the freeway or on a dark road at night. If there’s no gas in the tank, the car just will not drive anymore. 

So since this has happened to me a couple of times, I really pay attention to the light that goes on when the tank hits low fuel. My husband is always like oh, you’ve got a lot of miles to go, you won’t run out of gas, you’ll be fine. But weirdly he never runs out of gas and I have, so I don’t leave it to chance. I always high tail it to a gas station. But if I’m in a hurry and this happened last time I had a big presentation, I had hundreds of people waiting to have me speak to them and I left just enough time to get there and then I noticed my gas light was on in my car and I had a decision to make. If I added a stop at the gas station to fill up my gas tank, I probably wouldn’t make it to my presentation on time. I would be very close to being late, but if I didn’t stop and get gas I might not have enough fuel to get me there at all and I’d end up stranded and miss the presentation. I hate this kind of bind. I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do, to do what I really want to do, and I don’t have enough in my tank to get there without refueling. 

Can you guess where I’m going with this little analogy? All too often we’re driving around in our lives doing really important things and we realize, man, I am on empty. I haven’t eaten well or slept, I’m out of my routine to keep me moving and connected and calm. But if I stop what I’m doing to do all of those things, I won’t make it, I’ll be late, things aren’t going to get done. So we push and we push and we go on fumes and often we break down along the way, either during our busy time or just after we just run out of gas. So what does running out of gas look like for you? For me? I can get sick. Usually my body just says nope, you can’t keep doing this, and I get sick. But it can also show up in my mood. I can get grumpy or just irritable, and I know for sure I’m on empty when I start having those thoughts of resentment. These are my indicator lights. What are yours? Imagine you have an indicator light in your body, in your thinking. Let’s just look for it and notice it so we can catch it going on early and plan to get a little gas. So enter my self care five idea. 

When I was headed to that presentation where so many people were waiting on me, I recognized that I had to stop for gas. If I didn’t I would risk running out and not getting there at all. But I didn’t really have time to fill up the whole tank. This was kind of crunch time. I needed just enough to get me there with enough to spare to get to another gas station after the event to fill up completely. So I knew I could get back home. So I made the decision to stop and put in five, five gallons of gas. Why five? Well, it’s enough to get me there, but it doesn’t take as much time as a full fill up. Yes, one gallon could be enough, but it would still leave me with anxiety. But five gallons would mean I had enough to see my trip through and I could do it feeling stronger and more confident. So five gallons might cost me a few minutes, it might delay me just a bit, but in general it would assure me that I got there and I would be in better spirits, calmer, ready to do my thing. 

Okay, here is where we apply this to our busy times. As moms, we are running around with deadlines and to-dos, and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. When it happens to you, you know it. Maybe you’re even stuck in a pattern of busyness that you’ve been running in like this all year long. Why you’re running actually does matter and we can talk about this on another episode to try to figure out how to change things around so you aren’t running all the time, but wherever you are, whenever you are running fast, this self-care five can help you get where you’re going, accomplish your goals in such better shape less sickness, less stressed, less resentful and less exhausted, all because you made the decision to pause and put some gas in your tank. The self-care five is a way you can take care of yourself when you don’t have time to fill up entirely, and I hope that just talking about this is gonna get your mind thinking about how that might be for you, because that’s how our brains work. If we just notice things that were out of gas, that we need a little something, your mind can help you see a path to getting a little more of what you need, and it may be just able to know what you need more of right now, and that would be really awesome. 

Much more commonly, I find that if I ask a woman, hey, what do you think you need right now, she struggles a bit. We just rarely get asked that question. I mean, we might get asked what you need me to do to help you, like our partners might say that, our kids might even say that, our friends might say that what else needs to be done to get all of your tasks completed, but rarely do we get asked, hey, what do you need right now? Okay, this is a great marriage tip. One of the things we strive to do in leveling up our connection in marriage is to ask these kind of deeper, heart-based questions. So it’s pretty amazing if you’re doing this with each other in your marriage already, but you don’t have to wait for someone else to ask you. And I think that really is the question we need to be asking ourselves, not waiting for our spouse or a friend or a coach to ask us. We can ask ourselves what is it that I need right now? And when I say that, a part of me is thinking oh man, I’m just too overwhelmed. I can’t even ask that or answer it. It’s way too much Like. I don’t have time to stop and fill up my tank. I get it, but listen, I also don’t have time to run out of gas, and I don’t think you do either. 


How many times have you finished the big push to get things done and you’re exhausted, or you get sick or you’re so irritable. Part of what happens when we’re running so fast is that our body gets this message that we’re in trouble. That sympathetic nervous system turns on no time for rest, for food, for filling up. Then it must mean there’s a problem and it puts us in alert mode, a threat mode, and self-care helps us turn off that threat, even just for a bit. We may not have time to take several hours a week to delve deeply into our own care, but we can stop for five. A little rest goes a long way to interrupt the cycle of threat. Five minutes given to ourselves in whatever way we need to keep us going. So here are some areas in which you can give yourself five. 


Clear your mind for five. When you’re running crazy and thinking and executing on all your tasks, it could be such a huge break to stop for five minutes and be mindful. There’s a whole continuum of mindfulness exercises, but the easiest way to be mindful is to just use your five senses. You could be sitting at a stoplight or driving and notice what you see. Notice the trees, the color of the sky. Listen to the song on the radio, the sound of your kid’s voices in the back seat. You can notice the feel of socks on your feet or the taste of the food you’re eating. Slow it down and notice what you sense. Love your body for five. 


Check into how your body is feeling and ask yourself what do I need right now? What does my body need, particularly A drink of water? Am I thirsty? Go get one right now. Maybe it’s some food. Can you think of something that sounds good, that isn’t junk food, that’s some high quality fuel for you to keep running? A nice long, luxurious stretch. 


Did you think I was gonna say nap? I wish I was saying nap, and if you feel like you have time to take a nap, I think you should definitely go for it. A nice long, luxurious stretch was what I was about to say. When I do this, I raise my arms high above my head and slowly let them come down. You know we rarely raise our hands or our arms above our head, isn’t that interesting? Rarely do we do that. In fact, most of the time we’re leaning forward in motion, walking or leaning toward a computer screen or something like that. That simple stretch gives our body a signal that it’s safe. This one move can turn down your threat response in your nervous system, and it probably takes far less than five minutes even. How about five minutes of just closing your eyes and resting, letting your body take a quick relaxation, letting those muscles let loose for just a little bit? 


Think about connecting for five. When we’re on the run, it’s easy to get disconnected from ourselves where we turn off our check-in system because we don’t have the time to check in so that disconnection triggers our nervous system to think something’s wrong. So all the things we’re talking about today help us reconnect to ourselves, but we can also get connected to others and to God or nature, and that will go a long way to soothe us and help us re-energize. So a five minute phone call with a friend, a mom, a sister, a spouse can really help Connect with your kids for a laugh, a tender moment or just a touch that will help your nervous system attune and feel so much better. Text is okay, phone call is better, video call is even better and in person touch is probably the most fill up to our tanks, but it all counts. Go into nature, smell the air, touch a tree, look at the sky. These connect you to the world around you. Say prayer, imagine words of comfort and love. These can connect you to God. Connection is just plain good for you and it can come in little moments. 

Finally, breathe for five. I love stretch breathing. I’ve talked about it before the power of breathing in slowly and then pausing and stretching out your exhale so that it’s longer than your inhale. The beauty of this exercise is that you start where you’re at, maybe hurried and with short little breaths, and then you stretch those breaths a little bit by a little bit, and what you’ll notice is how slowed down your world gets for just a few minutes. Try this each morning and night, but also do it at a stoplight or when you’re waiting in line at a store. Your body will just sink into this new rhythm with such relief. A few of these breaths each day can go a long way in helping you stay connected to yourself and feel a teeny bit of peace. You may have some other ideas that come up for you, and they may take a bit longer, and that’s okay. The number of minutes don’t matter as much as the concept. I really believe if we can keep this on the top of our mind, we’ll find the way to make a little time to do it, even a small version of it. Maybe it’s getting to bed five minutes earlier. If I did this each night this week, I’d be in bed 30 minutes earlier at the end of the week. 


Tiny bits of care add up, creating habits that prioritize our wellness and make it so much more comfortable to take care of ourselves. I invite you to ask yourself the question what do I need right now? And then give yourself permission to do it, either in a full tank form or in a self care five, because you’re worth it. And think about how this can translate to your kids. We’re showing our children how to take care of ourselves and get the things done that we need to do. This example serves them and serves you at the same time. It’s a big win-win. 


Well, I’m taking next week off to slow down my life and enjoy the holidays trying to take my own advice, but I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Please take good care of yourselves. Sending you all my love. Bye-bye. The Leadership Parenting Podcast is for general information purposes only. It is not therapy and should not take the place of meeting with a qualified mental health professional. The information on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, illness or disease. It’s also not intended to be legal, medical or therapeutic advice. Please consult your doctor or mental health professional for your individual circumstances. Thanks again and take care.

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